Following the success of the 'tree tinning' project, we announced in September 2018 that ongoing financial support from the Parrot Society's Conservation fund has allowed Ray Ackroyd to produce a batch of artificial nest boxes to increase potential cockatoo nesting sites. Following disastrous fires and prolonged drought in 2017 and 2018, many existing trees have disappeared.
A dead tree, which could provide one or at most two nest sites for cockatoos
Ray has constructed nest boxes from dead trees, thereby creating dozens of potential sites from one tree, that left standing would house no more than two pairs of birds -
- as well as making 'conventional' artificial boxes from sawn timber -
Ray tells us that the unusual (to British eyes) A-frame shape of the boxes is to reduce the amount of roof that exposed to the sun. An important consideration when temperatures regularly reach 40 degrees C or more! With these birds' breeding season fast approaching, Ray is working hard to get these boxes distributed and mounted.
November 2018 Update: Ray reports that more than 50% of the nest boxes that have been sited and mounted are already occupied by Cockatoos and other parrot species, an excellent result! He says in a message to the Parrot Society that "No doubt with all the land clearing they were fairly desperate to get a nesting site. Thanks again to PSUK for allowing that to happen".
May 2019 Update: Ray reports that "There can be no dispute that the funding by the Parrot Society UK to construct nesting boxes for the above species, considering that their original old growth nesting trees have been destroyed, is money well spent and is working very well as the pictures clearly indicate. A lot of the local old growth trees have been bulldozed down to make way for housing development in South West Sydney."
Rainbow (Swainson's) Lorikeets checking out a nest box; Chicks in a box
"The PS nestbox project is isolated away from any other so called nest box programmes here that other organisations are trying. Quite frankly ours work - theirs don't and the reason is that their field knowledge doesn't guide them to erect them in the correct places. Our boxes are busy at all times and the pairs continually come back to check out their nest sites. I continually have problems with Indian Mynahs and starlings and unfortunately for them I have to net and destroy them. That is legal here for those pest birds".
Galah's (Roseate Cockatoos) checking out nest boxes
January 2020 Update: Following the disastrous bush fires and extensive loss of habitat and wildlife that we have all been watching on our TVs, we sent a message to Ray Ackroyd asking how thins were, and if there was anything more we could do to help. This was his reply -
"I really don’t think anybody can envisage the loss of wildlife. You are certainly correct when you say it will take many years to recover. The first thing that fire enjoys is hollow trees and hollow branches. There will be concern in relation to Swift Parrots who migrate up to our South Coast during our Autumn to feed on Nectar, Pollen and Lerps from the very trees that are now severely burned. This year's fires may have a massive impact as to the future of the limited wild population of Swifts.
Apart from the fires and smoke the summer temperature here has been extremely hot. Most of the days from Christmas onwards have been in the 40s. The 4th of January along the Coast was excessively warm with Western Sydney getting a reading of 49.5c. Aviculture has had some big losses and outer Sydney Poultry Farms had substantial losses.
I have been talking to a number of Bird Societies and they have already put the wheels in motion regarding erecting nest boxes in areas affected by fire. These Societies are now in talks with Government Departments and will no doubt receive funds to support the cost of constructing nest boxes of various sizes. These will undoubtedly follow the pattern that was set by the PSUK when you funded me to implement the nest box programme for parrots under the stress of losing their breeding trees.
No doubt they will erect the boxes in areas around the towns ie:- Golf Courses, Reserves and School Grounds where they can be monitored. It’s a big job, but it can be done.
The Societies work with The Men’s Sheds and they are a group of dedicated retirees who enjoy doing work such as carpentry for Charity. Certainly these men get a lot of personal satisfaction assisting those in need of help. The local Men’s Shed have already constructed some 500 boxes. I have already donated a lot of material for the construction of those boxes.
On behalf of the Australian people I would like to thank the Council and the members of the PS UK for their concern for our wild bird populations due to the ongoing fires. There is already substantial funding forthcoming to our Bird Societies, however I will let it be known particularly to our NSW Avicultural Society of your concern and offer to assist.
No doubt you will want to be continually advised on the programme and I will do that for you.
Kind Regards to all.
Ray attached a couple of photographs of nest boxes being constructed by the 'Men's Sheds' group -
See also Tree Tinning In Australia
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